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3 Tips to Cultivating Agency Leadership with Glyn Williams

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Out-of-Home advertising is one of the oldest industries in existence and can be traced back to the earliest civilizations. Ancient Egyptians would build tall stone obelisks to publicize their laws and ordinances. The billboards industry was actually started by another Boston-based startup...in 1850, by John Donnelly & Sons. It's interesting to see that even though the way brands engaged customers has changed drastically throughout the centuries, Out-of-Home advertising endures.

From hieroglyphs illustrated on stone walls to spectaculars in Times Square, OOH has come a long way. And unfortunately for the naysayers, the billboard isn’t dead. Even in the age of the internet, where everyone is seemingly glued to their gadgets at all times, OOH is thriving.

Well, this begs the question: how can operatives in the industry grow and scale their businesses?

Deriving insights from Tim Rowe’s conversation with Glyn Williams, CEO of Mahlmann-Media, on The OOH Insider Show, let’s look at three ways to increase revenue while cultivating agency leadership.

 

1. Vision Inspires Action

Being a directional leader assists in revenue growth.

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If nothing else, the events of 2020 were a masterclass on the importance of adaptability and rapid innovation. The business landscape has shifted dramatically, and the OOH industry has not been spared. The pandemic might have spurred renewed interest in out-of-home, but it has also disrupted long-established ways of working.

 

OOH Will  Continue to Gain Momentum

How can agencies make the most of this and improve business models as well as their bottom line? For one, agency leaders should adopt a growth mindset. As Glyn Williams says, "As an agency, we ourselves need to increase our revenue and we need to do that from a proactive standpoint."

Agencies rot or rise from the top. By the very nature of marketing and advertising agencies, leadership plays a vital role in how the firm operates and innovates. Every advertiser is familiar with the fast-paced work environment. Managing client expectations and delivering top-notch creative is not an easy task.

Not only is your agency in competition with other agencies, you also have to consider that many companies are bringing your service offering in-house. As a result, it's crucial to consider all aspects of your business. A growth-oriented mindset ensures that you go beyond just providing excellent client services by capitalizing on opportunities to increase revenue and scalability.

It’s a tough balancing act which is why you must be on the lookout for opportunities. Don’t just wait around for clients to approach you. As an advertiser, you know the ins and outs of the industry. For this reason, you’re better placed to advise the client on how to take advantage of any opportunities that arise.

Glyn tells a magnificent story of how to proactively pursue opportunities saying, "I remember seeing an article, a press release or something about the Orange Bowl. And the orange bowl is a pretty big deal. So, we just sort of reached out to the client about supporting the event. We put together a proactive, super simple small buy. By leveraging this opportunity, the company generated quite a bit of additional revenue from the minimal campaign we managed to put together.”

That’s the thing about adopting a growth mindset. You get to garner new business while fostering and maintaining client relationships. Another thing to note: part of providing excellent customer service is empowering your team to take part in solutions. Bank on everyone; their insights might just surprise you. As a leader, you set the pace, which means you should have a vision "you can edit with some collaboration and implement with consensus."

The advertising business is about people – their needs, wants, and preferences. Agency leaders can inspire their teams to great heights just by articulating their vision for the business. Successful agencies have the entire team on the same page.

 

2. Get the Data that Matters; Understand Your Client’s Story

- Adjust the media mix modeling discussion with clients. What difference does it make if the client does not believe the data?

OOH is all about storytelling; Riveting storytelling hinges on good data. OOH has evolved quite a bit over the last two decades. Digital technology and data analytics have significantly improved the effectiveness of OOH advertising, particularly in three major areas: targeting, measurement, and messaging.

It’s possible to predict and measure the number of impressions. Advertisers can now behaviorally target consumers based on location and demographic to deliver meaningful messages, some of which can even be adapted in real-time. Or, as Glyn puts it, "As much as we talk about data impressions and creative. OOH is very much a real estate business." Like evaluating a valuable piece of real estate, some pertinent questions to ask include "Is that a good location?" and "Is that where it should be?"

Getting the data that matters can boost the customer experience. Advertising is an increasingly competitive landscape. You need to understand the client so as to provide them with the data that will resonate and encourage them to buy. How do you discuss out-of-home and media mix modeling with your clients? If they rely heavily on media mix modeling, perhaps it’s best to focus more on the creative rather than data.

“You can have all the data in the world, but if you show it to a client and then they doubt it, well then what difference does it make.”

 

3. Get Out of Your Own Way

When starting a project, don't limit yourself by first thinking of what cannot be done.

Instead, think of the possibilities before adding restrictions.

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Agencies run into a lot of roadblocks when focusing on revenue generation, some of which are self-imposed. For instance, starting the decision-making process with "What can we do?" places a ceiling on the process and what you can achieve. Instead, remove the limits. Challenge yourself and your team to think outside the box.

Stop sweating the small stuff and get creative. Find out if things are working and figure out whether you can pivot. Being solution-oriented means "Changing the mentality from what we can do to what we should do, who should we be, and where should we go." So, instead of digging deeper into your niche services, expand into other things that can offer solutions and attract new clients.

Remember, “Take every moment within the moment while acknowledging that every moment is going to build.”

 

Make the Leap: Make Your Agency More Profitable and Scalable

In today’s hyper-connected world, it’s even more difficult to make meaningful connections with consumers. As an advertiser, it’s not enough to be seen or deliver millions of impressions. In some cases, a more unique and creative approach is necessary.

Having a vision ensures you can adapt to the ever-changing needs and preferences of the new-age consumer. Gone are the days when advertisers could get away with spurious claims and empty promises. Clients understand that there's no longer room for hollow promises. It's essential to be transparent with your clients. Maintaining genuine and authentic connections is key to retaining clients.

Also, you must always be on the lookout for new opportunities. OOH has the twin advantages of size and mass outreach. As a result, there are countless opportunities you can leverage; there are no limits to OOH despite those you place on yourself. Building a value proposition is the critical factor to becoming more profitable and scalable.

Check out the full conversation on the OOH Insider podcast, here on iTunes.

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